An allergist is a medical doctor that specializes in allergy treatment and immunology. An allergic reaction is an overreaction by the immune system to something that’s normally harmless. Not all allergies are the same. Some people have mild allergies, while others have severe reactions upon exposure. If you suspect you may have allergies, no matter how mild, it is important to get diagnosed and set up a treatment plan with the help of an allergist.
Allergists treat a plethora of conditions related to allergies and immunology. Here are some of the most common conditions they diagnose and treat.
Asthma is a condition that causes the airways to narrow, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma can be allergy-induced, in other words, the substances that cause a person to have an allergic reaction can also trigger an asthma attack. Approximately 60 percent of Americans with asthma have this type of asthma.
Also known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis is a type of allergic reaction that produces symptoms affecting the nose, such as sneezing, congestion, and runny nose. A common trigger of allergic rhinitis is pollen from trees, grass, or weeds. Allergic rhinitis is either seasonal or perennial (occurring all year round).
Sinusitis is a condition that is characterized by the inflammation of the sinus passageways. It can develop after a cold, an infection, or an allergic reaction. The symptoms of sinusitis are very similar to that of allergic rhinitis — congestion and nasal discharge. However, sinusitis can cause pain and tenderness in the face as pressure builds up in the sinuses.
Eczema and hives are two of the most common skin allergies. Eczema is characterized by itchy, dry patches of skin, while hives are raised, itchy bumps. People with asthma or allergic rhinitis are more likely to also suffer from skin allergies. Triggers for skin allergies include medications, fragrances, chemicals, certain fabrics, and insect bites. Stress can contribute to skin allergies, as well.
People can also become allergic to insect bites, especially any one of the five — fire ants, bees, hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets. Allergies to stinging insect bites can be life-threatening, as the venom can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. During an anaphylactic attack, blood pressure drops, and the airways narrow, which can lead to fatal outcomes. Patient education is important, as well as learning how to use an epinephrine auto-injector for anaphylactic reactions.
Another one of the most common allergies is food allergies. It can produce mild to severe symptoms — the most severe being an anaphylactic shock. Common triggers of food allergies include soy, wheat, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish. Most food allergies are easily manageable with avoidance and allergy medication.
Poorly managed allergies can hold you back from enjoying your life. Allergy management is important, even more so for pediatric patients who are still developing and need to be educated on allergies and how to respond to them. Make sure your family gets the best allergy treatment by making an appointment with an experienced allergist.
Allergists in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Naperville, and Plainfield IL
At Oak Brook Allergists, we diagnose, treat, and manage all types of allergies. We prefer to make allergy testing available to patients as soon as the first visit. For eligible patients, we offer immunotherapy, which helps to prevent a severe, potentially life-threatening reaction.
To schedule an appointment, call us now at (630) 574-0460 or use our online request form. Our allergy experts look forward to helping you control your allergies and not let them control your life!